The S-Curve Indicator: Week of February 25, 2013

This week’s indicator is 90 by 50, which refers to the Urban Green Council’s plan for reducing New York City’s emissions 90 percent by 2050. The Council argues that currently practiced techniques—like sealing leaks and triple glazing windows— can enable New York to achieve this goal without the need for technological breakthroughs. This approach of honing in on one sector has implications for cities, as well as companies, in terms of setting sustainability priorities.

Seventy-five percent of New York’s carbon emissions come from buildings and their associated energy use. Because of this, the city can address its overall footprint through a relatively narrow focus. This clustering of emissions is not atypical in corporate footprints either. In a 2009 analysis, Coca-Cola found that over half of the carbon emissions of its beverages come from packaging. According to our i3 platform, Coca-Cola has since forged multi-million dollar investments and relationships in recycling and bioplastic companies. Taking a lifecycle approach enables firms to go deep in one area, rather than broad across several, often with better results for their environmental and financial performance.


This is an entry in our series, The S-Curve Indicator, where we highlight a number that’s impacting the world of sustainability.